In an off-season full of many surprises, the biggest one may have occurred on Friday afternoon when Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners. The 31 year old second basemen has agreed to a 10 year $240MM contract with the Mariners according to major league sources. Cano spent his first nine years in the league with the New York Yankees where he averaged a slash line of .309/.355/.504.
This news shocked a lot of people since most superstar free agents don't leave the Yankees to sign elsewhere. The Yankees had reportedly offered a 7 year $175M contract as their maximum offer to Cano sometime in the past week. They stated that they would not offer over $200M, wouldn't go past 7 years, and gave a deadline for Cano to accept the offer. Cano seemed to be unhappy when the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury, on Tuesday evening. They gave the former Red Sox a 7 years $153M deal, which one could assume was using up the money offered to Cano.
While the Yankees will definitely miss Cano in their starting lineup, I think Brian Cashman made the right move letting him walk to Seattle. The Yankees are already regretting the last 10 year contract they handed out in Alex Rodriguez, who is currently sewing MLB baseball over the money he could be losing. After a lot of these "mega deals" have proven to be disasters the past few seasons, you'd think teams would start to learn from other team's mistakes. I am worried about Cano's commitment to the game after being paid handsomely. He has always been a lazy player and now that he is set for life, who says he doesn't become lazier? Cano will most likely be productive for the first few years of this deal but I feel by at-least year four he will show obvious signs of regression. Robbie seemed to be more inclined to take the money than to stay with the team that gave him the best chance to win. I don't necessarily agree with his decision but I understand why he did it.
The Mariners will not be a playoff contender by signing Cano alone; they must make a bunch of other moves if they want to even have a shot at competing in their own division. They have a very talented pitching staff that will only get better once top pitching prospects James Paxton and Taijuan Walker arrive on the scene. However, their lineup is not very impressive and leaves a lot to be desired. The only productive players in their current lineup are Cano and Kyle Seager. If the M's want a chance to compete with the Rangers and A's, they will need to pony up some more money on players such as Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran, or Shin-Soo Choo.
As for the Yankees, I don't understand why people think they need another outfielder. While there will be some power lacking from the current offense, who's to say Jacoby Ellsbury won't improve his home run total by having the short porch in right field? Brian McCann also will give the Yanks something they didn't have last year, which is power from behind the plate. They already have Alfonso Soriano, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells, and Ellsbury under contract in the outfield; so they would need to trade at-least one of them if they went out and signed Carlos Beltran or Shin-Soo Choo. I think they should put all the eggs in the basket and go hard after Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Not only does Tanaka have more potential than the remaining pitchers on the free agent market, but he doesn't cost a first round pick to sign. The new posting fee could be an obstacle but I don't think spending money will be an issue for the Yankees' front office.
The more pressing question for Yankees fans at the moment is who will replace Robinson Cano at second base? The Yankees did sign Kelly Johnson a few days ago to a one year $3M contract but I think he was signed as an A-rod insurance policy at third base and a utility player. The second basemen linked to the Yankees the most is former Detroit Tiger Omar Infante. Infante had a solid season in 2013 hitting .318/.345/.450 with 10 home runs in 453 at-bats. The thing I like the most about Infante is he is a right handed bat, which should help balance out the three lefties that the Yankees already signed this winter. Aside from those two, Brandon Phillips was mentioned as being on the trading block earlier this off-season, but I've heard the Cincinnati Reds have decided to keep him at this point.
So what do you guys think, did the Mariners make a mistake paying Robinson Cano? Did the Yankees make a mistake by not? Send your responses to @First_TenSports on twitter and we'll retweet our favorite!